As Apple introduced its iPad tablet device on Jan 27, analysts presented a variety of opinions about the product’s impact on the gaming space. In interviews with Industry Gamers, two analysts predicted (1) a slow progression from casual games to “PSP quality” games and (2) lagging support from big publishers.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter suggested that the iPad’s game titles would change over time. “I think the early offerings on the tablet will be a lot closer to iPod Touch/iPhone style games, and then probably morph into DS kind of games and then ultimately will morph into PSP quality games,” Pachter said. (See Game Rant’s initial overview of iPad gaming here.)
EEDAR analyst Jesse Divinch’s analysis was more focused on fundamentals, user base and third-party software support. “The success of any gaming hardware device comes down to its installed base and quality third-party support.” Though Apple did have Travis Boatman, VP of Worldwide Studios at EA Mobile, on stage demoing Need for Speed Shift during its iPad introduction, Divinch suggests that publishers like EA “…need to be reassured that the gamer installed base can surpass 20 million (worldwide). There is no point in making great games if no one is there to purchase them,” Divinch said.
Divinch also highlighted the difference sales strategies. Large publishers like EA, Activision, and Take-Two make games that carry a hefty expense, especially considering the sales channel; “not just anyone can make a game and slap it on retail shelves.”
Divinch believes that the high profit margins from big publishers “are used to evolve technology and gaming standards to new heights. The lower the profit potential, the less resources and desires there are to push gaming standards ahead.” He concludes, “There are still many hurdles Apple will have to cover before it can be taken seriously.”
Regarding Divinch’s idea of the installed base, reporter Brad Stone at The New York Times offers a different perspective. “Other analysts have heard similar criticism before — once aimed at the iPhone, which has been bought by more than 42 million people around the world,” Stone said.
Personally, I think Apple has the audience — “believers say Apple’s judgment on the market is nearly infallible,” Stone suggests — and the app store with 140k applications (though how many of these are games?). But we won’t really know the potential appeal of the iPad until we’ve seen the games themselves, and how the technology inside that 1.5 pound device can support complex graphics. (Full-screen animation at 1024 x 768 resolution? With a 1Ghz processor? Really?!) And of course how strongly publishers like EA support the platform.
What are your first impressions of the iPad as a gaming platform?
Source: Industry Gamers